The city is also known as Yeşil Bursa (Green Bursa) because of the parks and gardens scattered across the city that make it a beautiful natural green lung in keeping with orderly urban growth. It was the first city of the Ottoman Empire, and as such was named a World Heritage Site in 2014 by UNESCO, under the name ‘Bursa and Cumalıkızık: the Birth of the Ottoman Empire’.
Bursa’s cultural legacy is today what attracts people from all over the world, with religious monuments really standing out, and by visiting them, you can gain an in-depth understanding of Turkish history.
We should probably mention the Ulu Cami (Grand Mosque) first, the largest temple in the city with 20 domes.
Another of the more well-known temples is the Yesil Türbe (Green Mosque) that owes its name to the tiles on the walls and ceiling of the mosque. It’s a building of great historical importance as it was an important place of worship in the past. The lead domes are also very distinctive.
Green Mausoleum is another outstanding monument. Strangely enough, the tiles were originally blue in colour, but after the earthquake, they needed to be changed and were replaced with dark green ones.
The cemetery in the Muradiye district is also worth a visit. Princes and sultans were laid to rest here in exquisitely decorated green spaces. The tombs are akin to a history lesson, with even the city’s founder buried here.
The Grand Bazaar is another place that helps us to understand Turkish culture. It’s an enormous covered market split into two parts, selling antiques (Bedesten) and silk (Koza Han).
Food is another of this city’s big draws, so it comes as no surprise that Bursa is full of restaurants. Street markets also give you the chance to try tasty dishes like candied chestnuts or an Iskender kebap while strolling through the city.
THE BEST MUSEUMS
Museums are another, possibly even more, impressive feature in the city. Let’s begin with the Archaeological Museum, where in addition to archaeological artefacts you can also find a wide range of ceramics on display. Then there’s the Bursa Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, with an extensive range of Ottoman art on display. It also has a large collection (over 40,000 pieces) of ceramics, carpets, metal objects and manuscripts.
Another museum was built as a tribute to the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafá Kemal Pasa, more commonly known as Atatürk, from which the museum takes its name. His speeches, personal belongings, manuscripts and photos of his life are on display together with paintings depicting Turkish independence.
Also worth mentioning is the İznik Museum, built on top of a soup kitchen from the 14th century of Ottoman architecture. The museum focuses on the tile industry, and you also have the chance to admire works of art from the Ottoman, Byzantine and Roman empires.